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Pioneer water polo earns No. 5 seed for WWPA Championship


Cal State East Bay will host the 2011 WWPA Women's Championship at Chabot College, April 29-May 1.

  • April 19, 2011

The Cal State East Bay water polo team will enter the 2011 WWPA Championships as the No. 5-seeded team, the conference announced on Tuesday. The Pioneers (19-13, 9-6 WWPA) are set to host the nine-team tournament at Chabot College on April 29-May 1. East Bay will meet fourth-seeded Colorado State to open their championship run on April 29.

Loyola Marymount collected the No. 1 seed after going undefeated (11-0) against conference opponents this season, while UC San Diego's 9-1 record against WWPA teams garnered it the No. 2 seed. Third seeded Santa Clara went 10-5 against conference opponents, including an 11-5 victory over the Pioneers last weekend.

Colorado State earned the No. 4 seed, its highest seeding in program history, after going 4-6 in conference play and topping a pair of conference teams, including Cal State East Bay, last weekend. Sixth-seeded Sonoma State, No. 7 seed Cal State Bakersfield, eighth-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay and No. 9 seed Cal State San Bernardino round out the seedings for the 2011 championships.

The Pioneers come into the 2011 tournament having lost three straight games to WWPA teams to cap the regular season last week, including a 10-9 loss to first-round opponent Colorado State. East Bay boasts several players ranked among the nation's statistical leaders, with Sarah Grunberger leading all players in assists, Claire Pierce in the top five in scoring and both Pierce and Whitney Bell ranking in the top 20 in the nation in steals. In the cage, goalie Jayme Pekarske ranks in the top five in saves and has allowed seven or fewer goals in six of the last eight games.

East Bay's 2011 schedule featured eight top 20 opponents and 16 games against Division I opponents. The Pioneers posted six wins over DI teams, including three against Division I squads from the WWPA. Despite dropping its final three games of the regular season last week, East Bay has won five of its last eight games.

Cal State East Bay will meet the Rams on Friday, April 29 at 10:30 a.m. in a rematch of last year's first-round game that saw CSU post a 10-8 win to upset the then-No. 3 seed Pioneers. East Bay went on to post its best finish in program history, taking fifth.

The 2011 WWPA Championships are set to kick off on April 29 when No. 8 Cal State Monterey Bay meets No. 9 Cal State San Bernardino at 9 a.m. at Chabot College in Hayward. The tournament will run through May 1 with the championship game taking place at 1:30 p.m. The 2011 WWPA Tournament champion earns the automatic bid the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship hosted by Michigan, May 13-15. Complete schedules and more information about the 2011 WWPA Championships are available here.

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